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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 8

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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 8








by Jamila Rufaro

He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood and the

flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been

invoked besides that of God... (Qur’an 2:173)

The Holy Qur’an prohibits us from eating pork in ayats 2:173,

5:4, 6:145 and 16:115. Avoiding pork in this country is difficult

because pork and pork by-products use a variety of names when

they are included in many of the foods and cosmetics we buy.

Did you know that glycerine is often made from pork and is

commonly used to make toothpaste and soap? This article will

focus on pork products that are commonly overlooked by people

who are trying to avoid pork.

Pork products are sometimes used to make snack foods such as

puddings, jello, chips, crackers, cookies, donuts and marshmal-

lows including marshmallow bits in cereal and hot cocoa. Pork

products are also found in some brands of cake frosting, cheese

spreads, yogurt, margarine, and ice cream.

Look for words like lard, animal fats, animal glyceride, hydro-

lyzed animal protein, enzymes, emulsifiers, monostearates,

mono and di-glyceride and gelatin on the label when you buy

these products. Dairy products such as whipped cream, sour

cream and cheese may also contain gelatin or rennet. Rennet is

an enzyme which turns milk solids into cheese. Animal rennet

is most often used.

Look for mono and di-glyceride (forms of glycerine), or enzymes

on the label. They may not all be made with pork but the only

way to know for sure is to contact the company or look for the Ko-

sher marking (K or U) on the label. Pork in the form of glycerine,

keratin, collagen and tallow are used in cosmetics and toiletries.

Some common ones that contain pork or pork by-products are

lipstick, shaving cream, toothpaste, had lotion, bath soap and

shampoos. Pork is also hidden in detergents, cleansers, dish

liquids, and soaps.

Some medications may also contain pork products; the most

common is the gelatin coated tablet of the gelatin capsule

(gelcaps). The Physicians Desk Reference is a reliable source that

we can refer to for the names, ingredients, indications, reactions

and brands of every prescription and non-prescription drug or

medication on the market.

Adapted from: ‘How Not to Eat Pork’ (or ‘Life Without the Pig’)

by Sharazad Ali, Civilized Publications, Philadelphia, 1985.

Beware of Pork in these Popular Brands:

Ivory soap, Colgate toothpaste, Nabisco cookies, Dryers ice

cream, Lucky Charms Cereal, Jergens Lotion, Carnation Coffee

Mate & Jello Pudding.





The miracle of the birth of Jesus was not one to challenge the

mistaken beliefs of a particular people. Rather, its purpose was

to stand as a testimony to God’s infinite might.

Another miracle, the purpose of which was not to challenge but

to show The Almighty incomparable power and control over the

lows of nature, was His parting of the Red Sea for Moses. The

followers of Moses had been trapped between the soldiers of

Pharaoh and the sea and were facing certain destruction.

But at this moment, when all natural indications pointed to

their inevitable doom, Moses still maintained his faith in The

Almighty’s power to intervene. Praying for divine intervention,

he then faced his followers and urged them not to despair or

lose faith in God’s providence saying:

“Nay, verily! For lo! My Lord is with me. He will guide me.”

(Qur’an al-Shu’ara 26:62)

With this appeal, Moses actually surrendered the whole affair to

The Almighty’s supreme will. This was at a moment when human

efforts to avoid annihilation was useless. Answering his appeal,

God inspired him to strike the water with his staff:

“Smite the sea with your staff. And it parted...” (Qur’an al-

Shu’ara 26:63)

The miracle defies all the known laws of physics which govern

liquids. The sea’s parting by Moses’ smiting of its surface cannot

be explained in terms of physics.

The only possible explanation for this miracle is in terms of the

absolute power of the Almighty, Who can simply “say unto a

thing ‘Be’, and it is”.

In contemplating these miraculous events which are, indeed,

acts of The Almighty, one often finds that the natural pattern that

had been interrupted to allow the miracle, returns to normality.

Thus the fire that was commanded to be as coolness and as

peace to Abraham regained its heat following the miracle’s

accomplishment. Likewise did the parted sea return to normal

after Moses and his followers had safely crossed it.

The miracle of the Qur’an, being God’s speech, draws its everlast-

ing validity and vitality from the eternal attributes of God Himself.

A second remarkable feature of God’s miracles with which He

supported His messengers, or used as portents of His supremacy

over creation, is that His agents were always from among the

weakest and most humble of His creatures on earth.

Having selected them, He then provided them with the power

to perform miracles which baffled and bewildered the minds

of those who witnessed them.

Because these tangible miracles were performed only once,

their impact was greatest on eye-witnesses. For those who had

not seen them, they were matters of hearsay which had they

not been affirmed in the Qur’an would have possibly been


It is sometimes said that scientific advancements might allow

man to duplicate such supernatural phenomena as miracles.

This assumption is indicative of man’s conceit and skeptical


Divine miracles will continue to challenge mankind until the

Day of Resurrection. No other mortal being could ever smite

the sea with a rod and cause it to part, as Moses did.

While arrogant people may contend that modern medicine is

capable of curing leprosy and restoring sight to the blind, nev-

ertheless none could achieve these cures by simply touching the

one inflicted as Jesus did. Still others may argue that nowadays

one can fly to Makkah and back more than once in a day.

But Muhammad (PBUH) on his Night Journey was not trans-

ported to Jerusalem in a plane, and no one apart from him has

been able to levitate unaided by mechanical means. Despite

man’s tremendous advancements in space exploration no one

has yet been able to depict the first heaven, let alone that

found beyond.

This power was exhibited in the miracle performed by the small

birds during the attack on the Ka’bah by Abraha’s army with its

elephant. The enormity of this miracle was so confusing and

perplexing to the intellect that it engendered some doubt in the

minds of some later believers who read about it in the Qur’an.

Some scientists found it too difficult to understand and tried to

account for the destruction of the elephant and Abraha’s army

by hypothesizing that the birds might have been carriers of in-

fectious diseased that caused the death of the marauding army.

All this is but mere conjecture, because as we have said earli-

er, there were eye-witnesses on the day of the incursion, and

they would certainly have ridiculed Muhammad (SAW) if the

revelation he imparted to them had been false.

God bestowed the same divine power upon Moses, enabling

him to part the sea.

It was likewise bestowed upon Jesus enabling him to cure the

leper and the blind and revive the dead. He gave Abraham the

power to revivify when He commanded him to cut a bird in

pieces, put each piece on a separate hill top, the call the bird

back. When it heard his call it came to him.

We must, however, understand that all that Abraham did was

to call the bird and that it was God Who permitted the miracle

to happen.

What does all this imply? The analogy is true as far as all hu-

man interaction is concerned. We should not wonder when we

witness an oppressor being overcome by a weak or helpless

person, or when the defiant are broken down by natural causes.

It is a reminder to all of us that God never slumbers and that

His divine justice, thought it may come late, never fails to be




The very name alchemy as well as its derivative chemistry comes

from the Arabic al-kimiya. The Muslims mastered Alexandrian

and even certain elements of Chinese alchemy and very early

in their history, produced their greatest alchemist, Jabir ibn

Hayyan (the Latin Geber) who lived in the 8th century.

Putting the cosmological and symbolic aspects of alchemy aside,

one can assert that this art led to much experimentation with

various materials and in the hands of Muhammad ibn Zakariyya

al-Razi was converted into the science of chemistry.

To this day certain chemical instruments such as the alembic

(al-anbiq) still bears their original names and the mercury-sul-

phur theory of Islamic alchemy remains as the foundation of

the acid-base theory of chemistry.

Al-Razi’s division of materials into animal, vegetable and min-

eral is still prevalent and a vast body of knowledge of materials

accumulated by Islamic alchemists and chemists has survived

over centuries in both East and West. He used alcohol as an

antiseptic in the 10th century.

For example the use of dyes in objects of Islamic art ranging

from carpets to miniatures or the making of glass have much

to do with this branch of learning which the West learned

completely from Islamic sources since alchemy was not studied

and practiced in the West before the translation of Arabic texts

into Latin in the 11th century.






iracles of